Sitkans will began casting their ballots at 7:00 this morning (10-4-22) in the local municipal election at Harrigan Centennial Hall. Ten candidates are vying for six open seats on Sitka’s assembly and school board. And there are two important ballot propositions.

Former mayor Valorie Nelson, sitting assembly member Kevin Mosher and incumbent mayor Steven Eisenbeisz are in the running for the mayor’s chair. And it may be a tight race– with a three way split, any candidate could win with just 34 percent of the vote. 

Assembly members Thor Christianson and Kevin Knox’s seats are up for reelection this year. While Knox is not running for another term, Christianson is one of five candidates to throw his hat in the ring for a three year term. Former assembly member Richard Wein is also seeking a seat, as are fisherman Chris Ystad, local business owner Kris Chinalski, and Ryan Herbert.

For school board, two candidates are on the ballot– Mitch Mork and Tristan Guevin. Both were appointed vacancies on the board over the summer. Three seats are up for grabs however, and until late last month only Guevin and Mork were vying for them. But on September 23, Melonie Boord filed to run as an official write-in candidate. The top vote-getter will take a three-year term on the board, the runners-up will take a two-year and one-year seat respectively.

Sitkans will also consider two ballot propositions. Prop 1, if approved, would change the way cannabis is taxed locally, replacing the traditional 6 percent sales tax with an 8 percent tax on marijuana, and the revenue from that tax would go toward the Sitka School District’s student activities fund. Prop 2 would fund the construction of a marine haulout at the Gary Paxton Industrial Park with up to $8 million dollars from Sitka’s Permanent Fund, money the city received in April of this year when it sold the former Sitka Community Hospital building to SEARHC. 

Polls close tonight at 8 p.m. Raven News will be live shortly thereafter from Harrigan Centennial Hall with election returns as they come in from Sitka and our surrounding listening communities, and with interviews with the successful candidates – if they are known. As has been the case in the past, close races may be decided by absentee and early votes. As of last Friday, municipal clerk Sara Peterson reports that 594 Sitkans had voted early in person, and around 140 had mailed or faxed in ballots. That means just shy of 800 votes, not counting the ballots that came in yesterday, will be counted beginning at noon on Friday, October 7, in Harrigan Centennial Hall.